Insomnia: A Growing Problem In Today’s Stressful World
According to the National Institutes of Health, at least one-third of all Americans suffer insomnia. Half of this group feels it’s a serious problem causing them lost work and productivity not to mention the toll it takes on their families. Another study showed that a majority of adults get less sleep than they actually require, and a large percentage of us are functioning with a chronic sleep deficit.
We all go through periods in our lives where our sleep patterns are disrupted. The emotional stress of a new job, new relationship, a new baby, the loss of a loved one can severely interrupt our sleep leaving us feeling sad, flat and drained of energy.
An interesting study recently published in the aftermath of a prescription sleep medication causing individuals to be come dangerously unaware of their surroundings while seemingly wide awake shows that an individual’s brain can and will suffer nanoseconds of micro sleep if derived long enough. (Makes me question if the sleep aid is actually allowing for sleep.) One is not consciously aware of this happening, but will be aware of brief lapses in memory.
Before you decide to use a prescription sleep aid why not examine what’s keeping you awake and do something about it? And, in the meantime here are some more natural alternatives that may help you get the night’s sleep you so desperately need.
Passionflower acts as a minor tranquilizer and can produce sleep for those who just can’t seem to close the mind down. This calming herb allows the racing mind to stop and sleep comes more naturally.
Chamomile has a reputation for soothing nerves and stomach, indigestion being a common cause of insomnia following late night dietary indiscretions. Chamomile tea is considered by experts to be gentle enough for children in small doses.
Valerian has been used safely for thousands of years and is the most widely used sedative in Europe. Once commonly used in this country until the mid 40’s when stronger pharmaceuticals displaced it’s use. It has wonderful sedative properties and helps tight muscles relax helping produce deep sleep.
Melatonin a natural occurring hormone excreted by the pineal gland helps regulate our circadian rhythms of awake and asleep. As we age, the secretion of melatonin is markedly decreased. If you have difficulty staying asleep rather than getting to sleep try melatonin.
Other herbs that have been known to help induce sleep are Kava Kava, Lemon Balm and Orange Blossom. Many individuals cannot sleep due to pain. If this is you, you will need to work out a program of stretching, exercise and possibly massage or herbs or medications that relieve your pain. You may then find that a sleep aid is not necessary. Till next time sweet dreams, Rebecca